Disclaimer: I own nothing. This is just a fanfic.
Characters are G.R.R. Martin's and the setting and background belong to Rowling.
Face your Fears
The classroom was not the usual one.
At first, this particular lesson had been supposed to be taught at no other place but the staffroom. However, some professor had complained about it and the students had been waiting until they were told about the new place to go. Thus, there they went, to a different classroom which was wide, long and large enough. In fact, it looked even larger than it really was, for every desk and chair had been removed from it. The only piece of furniture left was an old wardrobe which had never been there in the first place. The oddest thing about it was that something seemed to be moving inside it, as if trying to open its door. The Third year students at Westeros School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, as they came into the room for their Defence Against the Dark Arts class, stared at it suspiciously and started wondering what its presence would mean. When all of them were inside, Professor Thoros of Myr, an amused grin of anticipation on his lips, made the huge door close behind them with a single movement of his wand and asked for silence.
"My dear students, today we are going to put into practice the theory that I explained to you last week. Does anyone remember about the creature called boggart?"
A doe-eyed, beautiful girl put up her hand.
"Thank you, Professor Thoros. A boggart is a creature that loves darkness. It is an amortal non-being. Nobody knows what it looks like when it's alone, because it is a shape-shifter. The boggart takes the shape of what the person who is facing it fears most. The charm that is used against this creature is the Riddikulus charm. Besides, the best way to fight against a boggart is in group, because it will make it confused and unable to keep a stable shape."
"Excellent!" the adult praised. "One point for your house."
Margaery glowed. The girl was a good student though not as skilled in actual magic performance as her brother Loras. Nonetheless, she had proved herself a genius regarding potions -which came as no surprise, provided that she was granddaughter to a Master in the matter, The Queen of Thorns- and had become Professor Oberyn Martell's favourite.
"At least one of you has done their homework. Anyway, I must be a little more precise. The Riddikulus charm is used indeed, but the incantation is not enough to defeat a boggart; the most important thing is your mental force. You have to create a hilarious image in your mind and convince yourselves that the frightening vision will turn into it. You must fight the horror with laughter. In short, you must face your deepest fears.
"And today you are going to begin practicing it, one by one, not in group. Thus, prepare your wands and stand in line", said the teacher. Then he moved towards the wardrobe, which was wobbling. "So, that boggart within is awaiting for you to frame its shape... Who will be the brave one to start the practical lesson?"
The students looked at each other in distress as nobody seemed to decide to volunteer. Thoros missed one of the Stark boys, Robb; undoubtedly he would have been the one to give the first step.
"Where is Robert Stark? Why isn't he attending class today?"
Jon, Robb's half-brother, answered.
"He hasn't felt well lately, professor. He got...sick last night."
Jon blushed and Thoros understood. Of course; last night there had been full moon and Robb, although dutiful and hard-working and charming, was also a werewolf, like some others in his family. The Starks were a pure-blooded family of wizards and witches, but had the misfortune of having werewolf tendencies among them, a curse which had already cost lives time ago. Fortunately, Jon was just an Animagus; he can also transform himself into a wolf, but on his own accord and First year student Sansa doesn't have any trait of either. However, Thoros knew that the head teacher had already been warned that the next Stark child in entering the school, Arya, had the same problem. What a pity, a worthy but doomed family.
"It is an inconvenience, but surely you would take your brother's place as a volunteer, wouldn't you, Jon?" It was a subtle command and Jon swallowed hard and placed himself in front of the shaking piece of furniture, wand in hand and decision in his eyes. "Thank you, Jon. And now the lesson starts." Thoros opened the wardrobe and everyone stared at it with mesmerized eyes.
An unknown woman appeared and took a few steps towards Jon. The woman was dressed in plain clothes; she had long hair and nothing special or frightening about her appearance except for her face. It was not a face, properly, but a blur, a void. She stood in front of Jon. Her body language was one of rejection and the boy hesitated.
"Now! The charm!"
"Riddikulus!" said Jon, but his voice was barely a whisper and nothing happened. The woman stayed the same and started to move onwards.
"Jon? Think of something funny. Focus on it and repeat the charm."
"Riddikulu-riddikul... Mo-mother? Is it you?"
Thoros frowned. "It's not real. Concentrate!"
"I can't!" the boy cried in anguish "I can't harm my mother! I just can't!"
Tears began dropping from his eyes as he stood motionless and Thoros had to move fast and cast the spell himself before the boggart would reach Jon at last. The students saw in horror how the creature changed quickly into something resembling a male half-living corpse and it was then turned into a clown. Thoros denied the chill that ran up his spine and tried and comfort the embarrassed and sad boy.
"It's alright; you don't have to be ashamed. It was just your first try; you'll pass the test next time. At least, you have put the appropriate intonation to the incantation." Jon's mouth twisted in a mockery of a smile which was immediately given up. He came back to the other students where he was welcome by his sort-of-a girlfriend and his friend Sam, who was even paler than him. Jon tried to stand tall, but he was still trembling and fighting against the tears. R'hllor, the boy looks miserable; I should have thought that his fears would have nothing to do with monsters, but with emotions.
"Poor little Snow with his mommy issues...Thanks for the pathetic show, mudblood!" said Joffrey Baratheon with a malicious laughter and some of his followers accompanied him.
Jon glowered, but before he could reply Ygritte spoke for him.
"Shut you mouth, you piece of crap."
"Enough!" exclaimed Professor Thoros before the argument got angrier. "Behave yourselves or your houses will be punished. One of you will be the next student to confront the boggart."
Joffrey recoiled but Ygritte glared at the non-being now turned corpse in clown's clothes with defiance.
"Ok, Ygritte. You know what you have to do. Try to think of what you fear most and transform it in your mind beforehand."
"I'll cope with it, I'm sure. No one hurts my man." And she walked boldly, leaving behind a flushed Jon while Thoros moved aside to allow her confront the creature. Teenagers.
The boggart shifted and took the shape of a woman, once again. She was young and beautiful and was wearing the finest and richest dress anyone could ever fancy, glamorous high heels and gorgeous jewelry. Ygritte stared at her in astonishment and a murmur grew from behind. The young woman, almost a girl, had fiery red hair prettily combed in soft curls, lovely eyes, porcelain skin ornamented with tiny freckles that made her look charming and a perfect white smile. She was elegant and as delicate as a princess or a lady.
She was Ygritte herself; or it would have been if Ygritte were not so...wild. A distorted -or improved, depending on how you considered it- reflection of her. The murmur grew louder and there were some exclamations and whistles of admiration among the boys -Theon being the most enthusiastic of them. Women are going to be the death of him. Damn his Greyjoy heritage! Nevertheless, Thoros had to hide a smile himself. This is a weird kind of fear, indeed. But the boggart was quite real and dangerous.
"Now, my brave student! There's no time for doubts."
"Riddikulus!" shouted the real Ygritte, whose face had turned as red as her hair. For a moment, the fake redhead shivered and the vision blurred and Thoros thought that the girl had succeeded. But the moment was gone and the boggart recovered the shape.
"You've almost succeeded! Try again, think of something amusing!"
"It's impossible!" Ygritte replied in anger. "I can't imagine anything more ridiculous than this!"
She was getting angrier and more scared within every second and the moment the boggart giggled and curtsied, she screamed and Thoros had to sort it out. The beautiful lady disappeared to give birth to the corpse or zombie and then to the clown. Some of the students had time to realize that his head had been smashed mercilessly and that an eye was missing.
"Don't worry, Ygritte. You almost got it, you only need more practice." She didn't answer, embarrassed, and came back to her place, where Jon and others tried to cheer her up. Thoros noticed that some of the teenagers were still trying to hide their amusement. Margaery Tyrell and her companions were giggling and gossiping. She will tell Sansa Stark as soon as she can. Other girls, on the contrary, were looking at Ygritte sympathetically, like Gilly or Daenerys, who was strangely more silent than she used to. The boys didn't dare to look at Ygritte for they knew she would strike back when she would get better, except for Theon, who was grinning, though he avoided making a jape -and, of course, Joffrey.
"The mudblood and the wildling! Two of a kind! There should be stricter rules to let some people enter this school!" His cousin Lancel and other relatives as well as the Frey boys cheered his comment and Thoros got upset. The boy was insufferable and vain and he had no reasons for his vanity. His only merits came from his family wealth and importance in the Ministry of Magic, for he was but an average wizard, a coward and a mean person. He was the type who bullied the weak and little ones, but flinched from the strong. It was difficult to believe he shared Professor Tyrion's blood, of whom Thoros was very fond. Tyrion was still young but one of the most brilliant History of Magic teachers the school had ever known. And a brave and witty person. It's no surprise he doesn't like his nephew at all.
"Joffrey, maybe you can show us all your expertise. You will be next. Be prepared."